How curiosity and creativity can fuel leadership success – interview with Tony Brooks

September 16, 2022
by Charlie Whyman
Tony Brooks headshot

When you think of ‘leadership’, what words do you think of? 





How about Curious? Creative?  

My guess is that those ones aren’t always top of the list… 

But WHY?  

Well as business leaders, you’ve got a lot on your plate. 

Whether it’s managing a team, dealing with clients and/or customers, or trying to keep a hold of the operational sides of your business, there’s normally not a lot of breathing room left for coming up with new ideas. 

Or you spend loads of time brainstorming and researching new ideas, only to find yourself down a rabbit hole with no real idea of how to incorporate your thinking into growing your business. 

Allowing yourself to be curious and to feed your creativity is key, but how do you manage it in a way that genuinely benefits your team and your business?  

That’s the question Tony Brooks and I sought to answer on the Leadership Training Podcast.  

How can curiosity and creativity fuel leadership success?

Curiosity and Creativity provide opportunities. Opportunities to grow as a business, to develop new ideas, and to re-think old ones until they’re the best they can be for both you and your customers.  

But if you let every new idea take over your week, you won’t get anything done. 

So what do you do? 

You let the OTTER be your guide!

This framework helps you get more from your marketing, whilst reducing stress. andoverwhelm.

So, what is it? 

There's some shocking research that suggests that 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% in their second year, and 50% fail after five years.*  

5 years in, having just had my most successful year yet, I’m sharing some marketing lessons to help you work towards those similar milestones.  

The first might surprise you … 


    When you say yes to one thing, you have to say no to something else. 

    So using the OTTER, you can determine whether what you’re doing really ties into the marketing objectives you’re working towards. 

    Before you do anything, consider: 

    • What you’ll do with the information you’re presented with? 
    • How you are using it to empower the person (or people) you’re working with, to be able to make good decisions from it as well? 

    If you can’t find an answer to these before you start,  you’re not asking the right questions in the first place. 

    Remember, it’s not about doing more, it‘s about doing less but better! 

    I can hear you now – okay well that all sounds good, but I can’t start saying no to customers?!  

    I get it, it was a completely alien concept to me, and growing up with a mum running a B2C business I knew it simply wasn’t an option to say No. 

    So, what do you do instead? 

    I’m all for customer profiling. It gives you your ideal customer’s age, job description, and favourite hobbies etc. 

    But instead of saying yes to every customer that fits that image, why not start asking a few more specific questions. 

    • Do you know their attitude? A positive person is going to be far easier to sell to. 
    • What are their behaviors?  
    • What’s their motivation?  
    • What’s important to them?  
    • How do they want to be spending their time?  
    • What are their best customers?  
    • And why?  
    • Why do they like working with them?  

    It’s not all about how much money they bring in, but also about how fun they are to work with. 

    By thinking more creatively about your ideal customer, you’re leading your company in the right direction, and it will be a far more positive environment for everyone involved. 

    You just need to allow yourself to see the bigger picture. 

    For me, it took bringing in an external party to challenge my thinking. That outside perspective can be invaluable and switching up your environment to review and reflect can really help you look objectively at what you’re doing.  

    Getting started by taking a walking meeting can work wonders for your brain and the results you achieve, rather than sitting in another boardroom. Planning it out in 12 week sprints using the OTTER can keep you focused on intentional curiosity, rather than procrastination fueling distractions. 

    So, if you thought leadership meant culling all curiosity, and losing your creative spark, then think again.

    It’s about tackling that ‘crack on and do it mentality’. 

    Taking a step back, and a break from what you’re doing, allows you to target your curiosity in the right place. Rather than simply run off on a tangent and lose sight of what you’re doing (and why!). 

    Leaders should be curious, they should breathe creativity, but they should do it in a way that helps their team, and business, grow. 

    If you’re in a leadership role, you don’t want to miss the full podcast that talks you through Tony and I’s top tips for harbouring curiosity and creativity as leaders. Listen here.

      Until Then, Stay Curious 🦦

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